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Eared Grebe, American Avocet, and Glossy Ibises at Montezuma NWR

Published November 09, 2014
Tags: General Observations, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, American Avocet, Glossy Ibis, Greater Yellowlegs, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Eared Grebe

An Eared Grebe, American Avocet, and two Glossy Ibises have been hanging around the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge for the past couple of weeks.  I took the long drive and spent a long time on Wildlife Drive enjoying these beautiful birds.

The Eared Grebe was much easier to find than I was expecting. It was with a group of American Coots when I saw it, diving, as is their habit, often. It was not in breeding plumage, making it a much duller bird than the one I saw at Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant last year and again this year.

And again, the avocet was so much different in its non-breeding plumage than the few other avocets I've seen.  This female was completely black, white, and gray.  She had no rust coloring at all on her head and neck; that was replaced by a light gray. What a difference! She was still beautiful, though, as she gracefully foraged in one of the ponds amid Canada Geese, a Greater Yellowlegs, 5 Dunlin, and some assorted ducks.  Her long and significantly upturned bill confirmed to me she was, indeed, a female.

A little further along the drive and in the next pond, I finally found one of the Glossy Ibises. Its incomplete white/blue'ish feathering around its bill and eye area confirmed Glossy as opposed to the closely related White-faced Ibis. This bird was a little less cooperative, though, and hung back in the reeds around the perimeter of the pond.  It came into the open only a couple of times but I did get a really nice view as it caught and ate a fish!  That was fun!

Next, I took a drive up East Road to see the Sandhill Cranes. I've heard they are there in significant numbers and they sure WERE!  I counted 52 of them!  What an incredible sight to see them strung along in a very long line periodically crying out their rattle-like calls. Very cool!

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Sandhill Cranes: I don't think I got quite all of them

Other birds seen today were: Northern Shovelers, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, Lesser/Greater Scaup, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, and quite a few Horned Larks.
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Female American Avocet
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American Avocet
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Glossy Ibis
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You can see why they named it a GLOSSY Ibis
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Glossy Ibis catching a fish
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There's the fish
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Dunlin
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My first sighting of a Redhead this season
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Green-winged Teal (drake)
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American Wigeon (drake)
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Gadwall
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The Eared Grebe with some American Coot and a scaup
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A young Northern Harrier hunting over the marshes
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Northern Harrier (aka Marsh Hawk)
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Juvenile Bald Eagle (severely backlit)
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Horned Lark